A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the content on this YouTube channel is PG-13 level: Jokes may target iffy and sensitive topics such as sex, relationships, drugs, alcohol, racism, domestic violence, and more. Language on every channel can be a little raw: Viewers will hear "hell," "ass," "goddamn," "a--hole," "damn," "f--k" (bleeped), "t-tties," "freaking," "tool" (used as an insult), "booty," "butthole," "d--k." Cast members -- who are notably diverse in race, gender, and ethnicity, if not age or body type -- sometimes joke about drugs or alcohol, pretending to smoke cigarettes and drink beer, as well as referring to being "high." Some skits contain comic violence: face punches and brawls, often with cartoon-style "boing!" sound effects. Some skits also reference sex: They may take place in hot tubs, feature games of Spin the Bottle, mock high school sex-ed presentations. "Sexy" videos are often silly instead of sexy, but may feature cast members (male and female) in brief costumes. Many skits are satirical, which may encourage viewers to think more critically about what they see, hear, and think. Videos are also preceded by commercials, some 30 seconds or longer -- you can't fast-forward through them, either, and they may advertise products or services that aren't friendly to young viewers.
What's the story?
The long-running (2005-present) YouTube channel SMOSH is one of the most popular dedicated content channels, and has many different types of content on different sub-channels. The two most-watched are Smosh, which offers short comedy videos that often satirize things like movies or memes or TV shows, and Smosh Games, with hosts that play board games, computer games, and other types of challenges and games. Older videos star Smosh co-creators Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox; gradually, other characters took part in various shorts, and now Smosh sub-channels are hosted by other cast members, and a cast was formally hired to star in skits. In 2017, Padilla departed Smosh to form his own channel; content on his old channel has been largely unaffected in tone. Popular Smosh series include "Every ___ Ever," "Food Battle," and "If ___ Was Real."
Is it any good?
Silly, satirical, and appealing to tweens and teens due to the homegrown playful topics, Smosh makes kids laugh, and may also make them think. Much of the humor in the skits that are the mainstay of the channel makes fun of things and the funny things people do -- a potentially racist coffee machine, the way people honk at other cars in the road, a neighbor who shows up at inopportune moments -- rather than people themselves. Though jokes may occasionally be rude (a cast member refers repeatedly to "eating a girl's booty like groceries" in one sketch), they're not mean. And the cast members are all treated with respect, even when they're being very silly.
Sexual references, language, and humor about drugs and alcohol may make parents want to rethink allowing younger children to watch this channel without supervision. But middle schoolers and younger teens will find much of Smosh pretty funny, and may additionally be inspired by the channel's game young cast to create their own videos.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why homegrown videos like those on Smosh are more popular with teen and tween viewers than televised skit shows like Saturday Night Live. What do the YouTube shows offer that network TV doesn't? What are the differences between the two?
In 2017, Smosh co-creator Anthony Padilla left the YouTube channel he co-founded and started his own channel, citing his need for creative freedom. Have you watched Padilla's new channel? What has he done with his creative freedom? How was Smosh affected by the departure? Can you name other shows or channels with notable departures? Did they get better afterwards? Or worse?
How has Smosh changed over time? Has the humor matured as the creators have? What age did Smosh originally appeal to? Has that changed?
For kids who love YouTube
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.